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Definitions of Reductionism

  1. (noun) The principle that the whole can be best understood by examining its parts.
  2. (noun) Reducing the complex into fundamental parts for analysis.

Examples of Reductionism

  • Reducing the behavior of women and men into biological expressions of genes and hormones.
  • All of the definitions in this dictionary.

Types of Reductionism

Reductionism Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: re·duc·tion·ism

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /ri-dUHk-shuh-niz-uhm/
  • British English – /ri-dUHk-shuh-ni-zuhm/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /riˈdəkʃəˌnɪz(ə)m/
  • British English – /rᵻˈdʌkʃənɪz(ə)m/

Usage Notes

Related Quotation

Additional Information

Related Terms


Babbie, Earl R. 2011. The Basics of Social Research. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Works Consulted

Bilton, Tony, Kevin Bonnett, Pip Jones, David Skinner, Michelle Stanworth, and Andrew Webster. 1996. Introductory Sociology. 3rd ed. London: Macmillan.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

O’Leary, Zina. 2007. The Social Science Jargon Buster: The Key Terms You Need to Know. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Stewart, Paul, and Johan Zaaiman, eds. 2015. Sociology: A Concise South African Introduction. Cape Town: Juta.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Cite the Definition of Reductionism

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “reductionism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 23, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/reductionism/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

reductionism. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/reductionism/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “reductionism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed May 23, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/reductionism/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“reductionism.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 23 May. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/reductionism/>.